Although they were defeated, Saturday's 27-10 preseason loss to the Tennessee Titans was the first time some new Chargers took to the field for actual NFL action.
With the first-team units getting limited action, the preseason is really many of the rookies' chance to prove themselves out on the field and many made the most of their opportunities tonight.
"We played a lot of guys which is great," Head Coach Mike McCoy said. "It's a great time for us as an organization to evaluate a lot of players. We told them certain guys are going to play a ton today and it'll be a great time for you to step up. I look forward to watching the film and analyzing every player and moving on to the next (game)."
"It's just exciting," mentioned inside linebacker Joshua Perry. "Especially being a special teamer, getting to be out there on the first play of the game, running down was a very exciting feeling. It was great to be back playing football. I'm very blessed to be playing on this high of a level and I just want to keep improving moving forward."
Perry finished the evening with three total tackles and in the third quarter, he converged with Nick Dzubnar to force a fumble and ultimately, give possession back to his team.
"I'm just running and hitting. That's what we do as linebackers and that's kind of how it happened. You watch the play and he's pursuing, running really hard and coming from the other angle and it's just a good hit. Things that we emphasize are turnovers so hopefully (there's) a lot of those moving forward."
As for some of the other rookies, tight end Hunter Henry tied wide receiver James Jones for most receptions (three) and guard Donavon Clark got work with the second-team offensive line working the left side. Drew Kaser notched five punts on the evening for 264-yards and a 52.8 average. His longest was a booming 62-yards. Meanwhile, undrafted running back Kenneth Farrow led the team with 16 carries for 60 yards, averaging 3.8 yards per attempt.
In addition, Derek Watt was all over the field Saturday night. In addition to blocking at his natural fullback position, Watt played on both offense and special teams, aiming to prove his versatility is key to the team this season.
"I think he's going to help us (on special teams) as athletic as he is, being able to move in the physical part of returning and being able to block," McCoy said. "Offensively, whatever we asked him to do, he's done. Whether it's running the football at times, you see the way he blocks in the running game. In protections…when he's been blocking everybody, it doesn't matter if it's an inside backer, outside backer, a defensive end; in certain schemes, he's done a nice job."
While their first action came with a loss, Saturday's game turns into a learning lesson for some of the youngest Bolts. Though it's only an exhibition game, they'll get their taste of watching film, correcting mistakes and making changes for next week's match against the Cardinals.
"I want everyone to look at this film, and individually look and say, 'How can I improve next week?' McCoy mentioned. "We have a good Arizona team we are going to practice against next Tuesday, how are we not going to make that same mistake? …If everyone has that mindset, we'll keep getting better. It was great to see the young players play; they got a lot of work today. We'll evaluate the film and see what we need to do from here."
"There were some good things (and) some bad things," added Perry. "But, definitely a lot to improve on. I think it's a great stepping stone to go out there and compete against another team with all my teammates. I know this was the starting point, and there's a lot of room for growth and improvement but I'm excited."